Should I upgrade to Big Sur now, or wait?

Dear All,

MacOS Big Sur is now available for download. Should I trust that Scrivener 3 works fluently on the Intel-x86-64-based version of Big Sur, or just wait?


Search for Big Sur on the forum. You will find issues. known issues. If you are ok with the known issues then go ahead. If you aren’t then feel free to risk it.

Keep in mind that just because no one has yet experienced an issue with a specific use case, there is NO guarantee you will not be the first. The bleeding edge is called the bleeding edge for a reason.

KB has already stated Big Sur fixes are already in the pipeline…

You should also be asking the same thing of all your other “critical” software – have they been updated to support Big Sur as seamlessly as possible, or are you going to be knowingly adding more friction to your life until those updates are out?

I always wait about half a year to a year before applying Apple OS updates. I really see no reason at all to jump all over it as soon as it comes out, and almost all of the major bugs you will encounter will be before the subsequent Spring.

So why not just skip all of that and wait until it is stable? 99% of the grief we see every year is from people slamming the upgrade button as soon as the notification pops up.

Come from a large family of Mac users. Common refrain today is that people feel like they have suddenly got new Macs: faster, fresher, better all round.

Save for waiting for Scrivener to be updated, Big Sur is way, way, way, way, way better than Catalina.

I upgraded this morning and here are my findings.
(Standard MacBook Pro 2019 8gig 256ssd)

  • Big Sur is a lot quicker when loading apps.
  • Safari is no longer this painful beast that sends my processor to 90c.
  • Battery life is a bit better. I think this is due to the Safari not being a pain.
  • All of my other writing apps are working just fine. (Word, Pomodoro apps, ProWritingAid, Ulysses and Day One.)


  • Keith reported a dark mode issue which is still present. Fundamentally, when you run in dark mode the background and fonts are dark. I work around this by going to preferences and setting the background in the editor to a light grey, (Keep it dark mode)
  • The cursor is hard to see because its white. Haven’t bothered to change it because its not a show stopper
  • You can use full screen mode if you change the Appearance to Light, But be aware, its proper bright…
  • Haven’t fiddled with the settings to change colours in full screen mode.

EDIT: I have also compiled to PDF and Word and all of my templates are working fine.

Big Sur annoyances.

  • Icons in the menu bar have big spaces in between them. Lots of people complaining about it on the interweb.

Apart from that, as Login has said, my mac feels a lot ‘newer’. Things are faster, snappier, a bit more pretty, etc etc.

Hope this helps.


Never upgrade. It’s a trap to make you think you need a new, more powerful computer.

I’m finding the opposite is true this time. I was planning to buy an Arm MacBook Air, because my MacBook Air 2029 is constantly overheating and the fan is running like crazy.

Since I updated to Big Sur today, I haven’t had any problems and my MacBook feels a lot faster. I’m planning to hang onto it now instead of upgrading to a new Mac.

You’re bringing your dystopian future to our present?


My thought: this may be a part of prepping the interface for touchscreen, eventually… but the Apple folks need to think about how overloaded the menu bar can get. My 2¢.

I have an iMac and an MacBook Pro. I upgraded the iMac early this morning. I used it until an hour ago trying all the apps including scrivener. I tried everything I do with Scrivener, which certainly isn’t an in-depth test of it’s features many of which I never use, except Dark Mode and it worked fine.

Quite frankly, the computer seemed happier, if that makes any sense. The only glitch in the whole process, as long as I avoid Dark Mode on Scrivener, is for some reason the iMac (new in late 2019) doesn’t recognize my Apple Watch. It did running Catalina, it doesn’t running Big Sur.

I decided I liked Big Sur better than Catalina, which has been a bit glitchy on it’s own, and upgraded my MBP.

The MBP feels like it’s returned to it’s youth. Its five years old and was beginning to feel a bit sluggish. Well, sluggish left the building. The MBP even unlocks with my watch like the iMac used to.

I may have some issues, but so far, trying all the apps I use regularly, Scrivener, WORD, EXCEL, photo editing (Acorn and Affinity), Safari, Music, Photos - I’ve had no issues.

I realize this is sort of like one-in-a-row being a trend, but thus far, Big Sur is an improvement.


I upgraded the desktop this morning and it’s been fine so far. I like it, but I have no interest at all in what icons look like (I hide the dock as one of the first steps — why click on things when you can launch apps with spotlight like nature intended?) so I may not be a reliable guide on the aesthetics…

Scrivener, Keyboard Maestro, Optimal Layout, Devonthink Pro and Safari all seem to work as well or better than Catalina — or at least, I’ve not yet noticed any problems.

BTW I always do a complete reinstall of a new major release, never an upgrade, so there is less to go wrong and YMMV. (I know people do upgrade without problems, but it’s always seemed unnecessarily risky to me: you’ve got months if not years of cranky old bits just sitting around waiting to cause problems for the new administration. Bound to cause problems…)

I normally do it fairly early on anyway (I’m retired, I don’t have critical programs, and my hobby is messing about on computers…), but this was more needed than usual because Catalina had started to get a bit flakey and unpredictable so I would have wiped it and reinstalled by now anyway if Big Sur hadn’t come along yesterday. Part of Catalina becoming flakey is my fault: I install a lot of software to play with, including many homebrew apps which can involve messing around in the weeds, so it’s no surprise that a reset is needed now and then.

In the next few days I’ll put Xcode and Emacs back on, which will require lots of messing around, so we’ll see how long Big Sur stays unflakey…

Depending on how old that laptop is (if it’s 2019 the fact that you’ve contemplated buying a new one already is a sign it’s working). But it’s not the core OS that drives it. They give you a short term bump from having a clean system. Then all your app developers drop new versions for the new OS. At least one app you own will be dependent on some new feature of the OS or some modern tech element that’s only been in laptops for a few years) and you’ll start to slow down or find it doesn’t work at all.

My laptop is 7 years old and working as well as the day I got her.

I updated to Big Sur and as a legally blind writer, the dark mode has broken. I had to set my editor to white background, black font. Now my inspector windows (synopsis and notes) look like they have a gray sheen over them…

How can I fix this until there’s a new fix in place?


After much messing around trying to upgrade last night I discovered Apple servers had gone down and no one was being very successful upgrading. I did do it this morning and my Mac is late 2013 and agree no problems yet and it does feel faster. First app I opened was Scrivener and can see no problems yet

You can’t, I’m afraid. This is a known issue fixed in Scrivener 3.2 which will be out next week.

All the best,

I would say to everyone to wait for version 3.2.

Just upgraded to Big Sur.
My Scrivener 3 is not starting at all. I tried to open it, but it crashes in a loop…

Found out it’s a known issue, I downloaded the trial version from here and it opens, as informed in below link.
But it’s a bit messy with colors. So, as the update is few days away, just wait.
And yes, mine is the version from the App Store.

UPDATE: fine, found this. … nd-silicon
Edit above post by consequence.

Thanks for reporting the news! I have an Intel-based Mac, but I haven’t been this excited about a macOS upgrade in years. Unfortunately, I haven’t been this excited about finishing my [expletive deleted] novel, either, so I’ll be waiting on Catalina impatiently.

My scrivener opens after the upgrade but the themes are all wacky so I returned to default and no worries. I’m using the Mac version with an intel core.

Thanks for posting this. It addressed my concerns about the dark text in the editing window. Changed the background color to light grey until it gets sorted.